From Castlebar - County Mayo -

Local Papers Commentary
The Connaught Telegraph - 31 Dec 2003
4, Jan 2004 - 16:10

Three from the Connaught Telegraph 31 Dec 2003:

Blackie Gavin must get off the fence

I was shocked to hear of the antics of Councillor Blackie Gavin (Fianna Fail) at the December meeting of Castlebar Town Council when he supported a call by Councillor Frank Durcan (Independent) for the resignation, of the town manager Ray Norton and town clerk Marie Crowley. Readers must remember that both officials are Councillor Gavin’s immediate bosses and for him to call for their resignation in public does not auger well for an employee-employer relation ship. Councillor Gavin is the Castlebar town plumber and an employee of Castlebar Town Council.

You’re a Star finalist says thanks!

James Kilbane, the Achill man through to the final 13 of You’re a Star would like to thank all the people of Mayo for their support. James is delighted with the amount of support he has received right across the county from Louisburgh to Claremorris and from Erris to Ballinrobe. A special thank you to those of you who sent cards, requests, phone calls and text messages

Late Christmas cheer of Knxus workers in Castlebar

Seasonal cheer finally came calling on Monday for some 180 call-centre workers in Castlebar some of whom were left penniless by their employer’s failure to pay them their monthly wages on Christmas Eve.

Staff a the British owned Knxsus plant at Moneen found to their horror over the festive period that monthly salaries in the region of 1500 euro had not been credited to their bank accounts. They refused to work at the weekend as a result and only donned headsets and resumed making calls yesterday after the parent company, based in Great Malvern, Worcesterchire sent their local bosses a fax stating that cheques would be available later in the day.

The Connaught only recently ended its ongoing dispute with Cllr Frank Durcan, which itself started when the CT called on him to resign. Cllr Blackie Gavin calling on his employer to resign may sound a bit daft at first but with a good trade union and modern worker protection legislation there’s probably not too much danger of Blackie ending up out on the street. No doubt Cllr Michael Kilcoyne would come to his rescue if Blackie is a paid up member of Michael’s trade union! As the Tallyman says, however, it won’t do much for day to day relations within the Town Council. The idea of calling for Ray Norton to resign is, however, daft. A more honest and straight up guy I can’t imagine – he is exactly the kind of civil servant that this country needs and I think Castlebar is lucky to have him. What is even more daft is for Cllr Gavin to attach himself to a dispute, which on paper at least, concerns an auctioneer and a planning permission related to a property sold by the auctioneer who is himself a town councillor! Maybe there are deeper issues that are not mentioned at the Town Council meetings but it doesn’t sound like a worthy battle to get involved with.

James Kilbane has his posters up around the town and performs live in the Helix on the 11th. A second mayoman to get through he joins Gary O'Malley, a nephew of Tom and Mary Murphy of Castlebar who also got through to the finals back on the 21st December show. Gary got a good plug on the Castlebar Bulletin Board and no doubt that helped his chances! (And apologies for mixing the two of them up in an earlier version). ‘You’re a Star’ may not be everyone’s cup of tea but it’s an incredibly popular TV programme and good luck to James and Gary for getting this far as it’s a tough gig. Last year’s winner did very well subsequently, and hopefully Mayo will pull this off as now it’s a matter of County Pride (although we’re still hoping of course that John Maughan will pull something off later in the year too!).

The Knxus story got coverage on the Castlebar BB too as it did in all the local papers. Staff generally seem to be very happy working in Knxus, saying that it’s a great place to work with good a good vibe and atmosphere. So it’s a shame that a hiccup like this should happen. It looked very gloomy there for a while. It appears that a merger between Knxus and Contact Partners (who have apparently have a similar sized facility in Shannon) was in progress and four bank accounts had to be merged giving rise to the delay. The staff did get their pay cheques in the end but there must have been a few heart-stopping moments there after Christmas when the funds didn’t drop into their accounts as expected. Hopefully the new merger with Contact Partners will strengthen the company and secure the current jobs plus the 50 or 60 extra jobs that were due to come on-stream by this Spring.

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